Brands have no shortage of options for spending their digital marketing budgets on offsite opportunities. Unfortunately, a lot of companies dedicate at least a portion of their budgets to click bait and made-for-advertising (MFA) sites. Not good.
Recently released data shows that U.S. companies spend nearly 10% of their marketing budgets on clickbait and MFA sites. Globally, the number is closer to 8%. All in all, MFA and clickbait sites earned approximately $115 million during the first five months of 2022.
Why Marketers Do It
If spending money on clickbait and MFA opportunities is bad, why do so many marketers do it? First and foremost, it could be a matter of ignorance. They simply do not know what a bad move it is. But above and beyond that, there are two more reasons:
1. High Visibility
Estimates suggest that clickbait and MFA sites enjoy high visibility. How high? Try a 77% visibility rate. That is pretty impressive.
2. Low CPM
MFA and clickbait sites tend to offer a lower CPM, which is to say a lower cost for reaching a large audience. Marketers pay less per thousand than they would on other marketing channels.
When you combine the two you essentially get digital marketing on a budget. You do not have to spend a lot to get your message out to a large number of people. But that is not necessarily a good thing.
A Terrible Return on Investment
With all of that explained, we now get to what you’ve all been waiting for: the number one reason to avoid clickbait and MFA marketing. Simply put, it represents a terrible return on investment (ROI). Search Engine Journal’s Angie Nikoleychuk explains that clickbait and MFA advertising offers very little yield at all. You spend the money and get nothing in return.
Why is that? Because people are smart enough to know when clicking on a link has led them to a clickbait or MFA site. They do not spend a lot of time on such sites either. A brand’s ad might be viewed, but it will not be viewed for long. Not only that, the consumer’s impression of that ad and brand could be negatively impacted.
Speaking of the negative impact, here are three more reasons Salt Lake City’s Webtek Digital Marketing (experts on SEO for small business) recommends staying away from clickbait and MFA sites:
1. Negative Brand Association
Consumers tend to associate advertising brands with the sites those brands show up on. Therefore, a negative impression of a clickbait site could lead to negative impressions of the brands that advertise on it. Those impressions could be long-lasting.
2. Bad Publicity
It only takes one bad marketing move for a company to be flooded with bad publicity. Advertising on clickbait and MFA sites is a recipe for that very thing. One thing that brands and don’t need in our hypersensitive culture is bad publicity.
3. Product or Brand Boycotts
If a clickbait or MFA site is offensive enough, advertisers who place their ads there could face product or brand boycotts. Like it or not, that is the world we live in. Offend the culture and your brand could be sunk.
Clickbait and MFA sites really don’t care about the success of your brand. They do not care whether your company succeeds or fails. They only care about selling ads. That is not a safe arrangement to trust your brand too.
If your company is spending part of its marketing budget on clickbait and MFA opportunities, it may be a good idea to rethink your strategy. There are more appropriate ways to use that money, ways that do not jeopardize your brand.